(Photo by Marcos Escalona/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah—With a half-game lead over Saint Mary’s for second place in the West Coast Conference race and on a three-game winning streak, BYU women’s basketball (19-5, 9-4) returns to league action at home this week. The Cougars host Portland (14-10, 7-6) Thursday at 7 p.m., in a game that airs live on BYUtv. The Pilots are in sixth place in the conference standings.
Game Promotion vs. Portland
• Pink Game – recognizing February as Breast Cancer Awareness Month
• Wear pink to the game and admission is just $1
Senior center Jennifer Hamson leads BYU in points, rebounds and blocked shots with 17.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game while averaging 4.2 blocks. Hamson leads the nation in blocked shots, ranks 12th in double-doubles, 16th in rebounds per game and 21st in field goal percentage.
Three other Cougar players are also recording double figures in points with Lexi Eaton putting up 16.8, followed by 11.4 points from Kim Beeston. Junior forward Morgan Bailey rounds out the scoring output contributing 10.3 points. She is tied for second place in rebounds, pulling down 7.2 per contest.
As a team, the Cougar women are averaging 71.9 points per game and are holding opponents to 65.1 points. BYU, who ranks fourth in the country in blocked shots per game, has recorded more blocks than opponents in 21 games and has dished out more assists in 18 of the 24 games played to date. The team has also recorded more rebounds than opponents in 18 contests.
• Head coach: Jeff Judkins (Utah, ‘78) 13th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #5 Hamson, 17.9 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #5 Hamson, 11.2 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #4 Beeston, 3.6 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #4 Beeston, 1.8 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #5 Hamson, 4.2 bpg
The Pilots enter this week’s league play on a three-game winning streak and a 14-10, 7-6 record. In the latest WCC standings they are in sixth place.
Three players are scoring double figures in points for the Pilots led by 14.0 from Cassandra Brown. Kari Luttinen chips in 13.5 while teammate Jasmine Wooton contributes 13.3 points per contest.
Portland averages 70.5 points per game, grabs 38.9 rebounds and shoots 48 percent from the field and 72 percent at the free throw line.
• Head coach: Jim Sollars (Seattle Pacific, 1966) 28th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #22 Brown, 14.0 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #33 Pupa, 7.3 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #32 Wooton, 4.2 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #33 Pupa, 1.9 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #30 Thompson, 2.1 bpg
BYU leads the overall series 13-4. When playing in Provo, the Pilots have a 2-5 record. The last time Portland won in the Marriott Center was on Jan. 2, 1999 when they picked up a 62-57 win.
Jennifer Hamson led the Cougars to a 75-68 win in Portland on Jan. 11, in their first matchup. Hamson finished with a team-best 21 points and 11 rebounds, making it her 11th double-double of the season. Kim Beeston hit five 3-pointers, all in the first half, to give her 15 points while Morgan Bailey grabbed nine boards and scored 17 points. Kylie Maeda dished out a game-high seven assists to tie her career high.
The Cougars shot 52 percent from the field in the first half of play, including 75 percent from beyond the arc. BYU outrebounded the Pilots 37-27 as well as dished out more assists, 18-14.
After the game against the Pilots, the Cougar women get set to host No. 15 Gonzaga on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs play at San Diego on Thursday night prior to making the trip to Provo and are in first place in the WCC with a 12-1 mark.